ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ranking in terms of Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2016-17 has witnessed improvement by four notches as it stood at the 122nd position in 2016-17 against the 126th position previous year 2015-16 out of the total 138 countries, World Economic Forum (WEF) reports.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 also identifies corruption as the most problematic factor for doing business in Pakistan, followed by crime and theft, tax rates, access to finance and government instability and coups.
Pakistan has now been ranked at 122nd position among 138 countries on Global Competitiveness Index 2016-17. India ranked at 39th position in terms of GCI, Bangladesh at 106th and Sri Lanka at 71th position.
In terms of judicial independence, the GCI ranking showed that the country’s ranking worsened by six notches as it declined from 82nd position in 2015-16 to 88th position in 2016-17. The strength of investor protection nosedived from 21st position in 2015-16 to 25th position in 2016-17.
The property rights related ranking also declined by 4 notches. The quality of port infrastructure ranking worsened by 18 notches as it stood at 66th position in 2015-16 but it went up to 84th position in 2016-17.The quality of air transport structure worsened by 12 notches in 2016-17 compared to 2015-16.
The quality of management schools related ranking nosedived by 14 notches as it stood at 70th position in 2015-16 but it further aggravated to 84th position in 2016-17. The intensity of local competition witnessed nosedive by 20 notches as its ranking declined to 118th position in 2016-17 against 98th position in 2015-16.
The effect of taxation on incentive to invest also worsened as its ranking stood at 85th position in 2016-17 against 66th position in 2015-16. The hiring and firing practices related ranking witnessed decline of 15 notches in Pakistan. The firm level technology absorption witnessed decline by 28 notches. The local supplier quantity witnessed decline by 39 notches in one year.
The availability of Scientists and Engineers related ranking declined by 22 notches in one year during 2016-17. However, according to GCI 2016-17 states that Pakistan showed some recovery on the economic front, where the country has been successful in improving its macroeconomic framework to improve its global competitiveness
Pakistan is classified as a factor driven economy, which basically depends on improving its institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education indicators. Pakistan improved from 119 to 111 on the institutions pillars, while infrastructure improved only one point and stands at 116 this year. On the Macroeconomic Stability Pillar Pakistan jumped from 128 in 2015 to 116. c, where Pakistan improved from 115 in 2015 to 107 this year. While the government debt percentage to GDP also ranks at 95 among 138 economies in the world. The biggest gain however is in the area of inflation; annual percentage change where Pakistan moved from 127 in 2015 to 93 in 2016.
On other pillars, among 138 countries, Pakistan ranks at Health and Primary Education 128, Higher Education and Training 123, Goods Market Efficiency 117, Labour Market Efficiency 129, Financial Market Sophistication 107, Technological Readiness 119, Market Size 29, Business Sophistication 95 and Innovation 75.
This year among 114 global competitiveness indicators, Pakistan showed improvements on 54 key indices, whereas on 50 indices the country lost its previous position. While 10 indices remained same as last year.
Pakistan at 122, ranks last amongst its South Asian neighbors, where India leads at 39 followed by Sri Lanka 71, Bhutan 97, Nepal 98 and Bangladesh at 106. South Asia continues its upward trend as competitiveness improves in most countries in the region. India has been the best performer, climbing to 39th from 55th last year. Over the past decade, the subcontinent has focused on improving overall health and primary education levels and upgrading available infrastructure, areas of particular importance given the resource-driven nature of its economy. However, the latter remains the second weakest spot in the region, just after technological readiness.
To improve the soft-data on Pakistan, the World Economic Forum closely worked with Mishal Pakistan, the country partner institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of WEF.
This year a total of 350 respondents from the business community were reached out through the annual Executive Opinion Survey, whereas 114 were selected from last year and 236 from this year. The World Economic Forum reached out to 14,000 business executives globally.
The report also shows performance of some of the key regulatory bodies and other government institutions, which have shown progress as well. Among 138 countries the institutions are ranked as following: Intellectual Property Organisation (109), Judicial Independence (88), Police Services (118), Auditor General of Pakistan Revenues (121), National Highways Authority (77), Pakistan Railways (53), Civil Aviation Authority (91), NEPRA (121), Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (115), National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (97), Competition Commission of Pakistan (96), Pakistan Customs (113), State Bank of Pakistan among other 138 Central Banks at (101), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan at (106) and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (135). The SEC of Pakistan has been losing its global ranking at an alarming rate from 51 in 2014 to 106 this year.
Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum said, “Pakistan has shown improvements on some of the key indicators to improve its global competitiveness, however the country still needs to integrate itself into the digital and cyber world. Pakistan with approx. 186 million population offers great prospects if data and knowledge-based policy making is introduced in the country”. He further said, “Decision making based on big-data can enable the governments to engage their citizens in policy making and democratisation of development process. In the fourth industrial revolution Pakistan can make a larger digital footprint in the cyber world, thus making its mark on the global policy making, however the country needs to equip its next generation with education and knowledge through digital services and mobile broadband”.
—Originally published in The News